Lately, God has been revealing a lot to be about one particular issue. Through my personal study of the New Testament, the devotions I read, and articles that have somehow crossed my path, I keep being pointed in the same direction. God seems to work this way in my life. He is never subtle.
I “cleaned up” my Facebook recently. I unfriended and unfollowed a lot of people. What does that have to do with God, you ask? See, years ago, I would have done something like this for personal, selfish reasons. I’ve made comments like “Purging my Facebook, Bye Felicia!” Now, my heart is in a different place. As I notice all that is wrong with the church, which can often be discerned by a quick skim of social media, I have begun to pray for heartbreak for Christians who seem to be carrying the banner of Christ unjustly (often myself included). Seeing posts that anger me does not help me acquire the heartbreak I have asked God for repetitively. I am hoping that distance from some people can replace my anger with heartbreak. That’s why I cleaned up my Facebook.
While the church’s presence in media outlets if far from the biggest issue on our plates, it is worth visiting. How should we present ourselves and respond to the world online? What better place for discernment than the gospel?
I just finished the book of Matthew, and the image of Christ’s self-sacrificing love remains etched in my brain. Not only does He act in love, but He charges us to do the same. Matthew 25:40 sticks out to me more than any other bit of wisdom Christ offers us: “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”
Wow. Whatever we do to the “least” we do to Christ. In Jesus’s time, the “least’ were lepers, tax collectors, and other outcasts, although I would argue that the definition of least has evolved as the world has. Least is no longer a blanket term. Each of us have a different least, an individual or group with whom we do not identify and whom we probably resent for some reason. I would wager that most of us are not treating our “leasts” like we would treat Christ of He were in the same room as us.
Think about all we see on Facebook on a daily basis. What if those comments were directed to or at Christ?
You lazy, illegal immigrant.
You disgusting homosexual.
You despicable Muslim.
You ungodly liberal.
You ignorant conservative.
When would the malice stop? Would we try to crucify Christ again? Because that’s what we seem to be doing of a lot of unbelievers or even believers who disagree with us on social and political issues.
This has to stop, because there is too much at stake. Most of the unrest on social media directly relates to political differences, and as Christians, our politics and personal rendition of the “American Dream” have to come second to the gospel. I’m fairly sure that, in Heaven, God will not care if someone lived undocumented (I hate and refuse to use the word “illegal”) a country for a period of time, nor would He care how we voted, nor would He care about most of the issues we seem to devote so much time and energy toward.
What if we put this effort toward helping widows, orphans, and other suffering populations like the Bible instructs us to do?
What if we logged off our Facebook kingdoms and spent that time feeding the hungry?
What if we worshiped God with abandon and really, really meant, “For thine is the kingdom?” God’s kingdom, not ours?
We would live in a different world for sure.
Franklin Graham is a huge face in the modern church, and he reaches thousands of people online. People in droves follow him and this kind of logic. Leaders like this have incredible power to promote love, but terrifyingly, their impact can often alienate the onlooking world.
I am not unrealistic. I know there probably won’t be a massive overhaul or church reform that happens overnight. But maybe, just maybe, our personal efforts would be enough to start a ripple effect that eventually sparks a colossal movement toward love. Maybe our efforts will lead to a day when the church is truly known for love and not for hate like Franklin Graham’s words above.
So next time we start to call someone ugly names, why don’t we try “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14), “loved” (1 John 4:19), or “enough” (2 Corinthians 12:9)?
Next time we start to say something nasty about someone online, why don’t we check our spirits? Would we say those things to Christ if we met Him face to face? Because posting it online is practically the same thing according to Matthew 25:40.
Next time we try to browbeat people and be their morality police (which we ARE NOT called to do), why not just say, “I love you and I’m for you. I choose you. God does too!”
Instead of arguing that people should “Go back to their own country,” how about we learn enough about their language and culture to effectively tell them just how much God loves them? What if they’ve never heard it before?
At some point, we have to realize that carrying the name of Jesus comes with great responsibility. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden (Matthew 5:14), but what do our cities look like at the moment? Are they bright, warm, and inviting, or are they cold, distant, and exclusive?
We will be noticed; that’s reality. What kind of legacy we leave is completely up to us.
There are several messages, articles, etc. that influenced me to write this blog. Here are two of them that I would highly recommend checking out.